Regarding the April 16 Metro article “Glitches, misconduct end classes in Fairfax”:

As a taxpayer and parent in Fairfax County, I patiently waited for four weeks for online learning. It finally kicked off on April 14. And on the second day, we received an email from Fairfax County Public Schools that said: “FCPS had worked closely with Blackboard’s technical team for several weeks prior to the launch of distance learning and there was no indication that the system would be unable to handle the volume of participating users.”

FCPS and Blackboard didn’t know how many students were going to be logging into the system? 

In the four-week period before distance learning began, FCPS and Blackboard didn’t schedule a test with all students and teachers logging in at the same time. Had they done that, the problem would have been identified and likely addressed.

Internet providers and entertainment companies have worked hard to handle tens of millions of users simultaneously. Blackboard claims it “has been working hard with Fairfax County Public Schools to move its 189,000 students to fully remote instruction during this unprecedented crisis.” 

Can the capacity issue can be fixed? How long will it take? What is FCPS’s plan if this can’t be fixed? If Blackboard’s product can’t support the online learning needs of FCPS, I want it replaced and I want our tax money back. If no other product can support the online learning needs of FCPS, what plans does FCPS have to support our students?

Xu Zeng, Vienna